Thursday, January 02, 2014

Hall of Mirrors

Much of the criticism of the recent New York Times in-depth investigation of what happened in Benghazi on September 11, 2012, is predicated on the idea that there's a straight line between a local Islamist-branded militia and "Al Qaeda."

The current situation in Iraq and Syria tests that to the limit.

There is a group called the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS, or Arabic acronym Daesh) which simultaneously is in increasing control of large parts of Al-Anbar province of Iraq in opposition to the Baghdad government, while its Syrian operation is being accused -- with some supporting evidence -- of having links to Bashar al-Assad's government despite its supposed opposition  to it. As has been pointed out, since the Al-Assads were acting as a conduit for foreign jihadis coming to Iraq to fight the Americans in the mid-2000s, it's not beyond the bounds of possibility that the regime kept some links to them.

If it all seems chaotic as an Assad strategy, it's worth remembering that Après moi le déluge is nothing new. As a result though, even people in an "Al Qaeda" affiliate might not be sure who's pulling the strings.